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One Championship

Conor McGregor has ‘zero chance’ of fighting in One Championship – even for US$1, says CEO Chatri Sityodtong

  • Asian MMA organisation’s founder Chatri not interested in ‘trash talk and controversy’
  • Says One fighters embody ‘integrity, humility and respect’ of martial arts
PUBLISHED : Friday, 30 November, 2018, 1:58pm
UPDATED : Friday, 30 November, 2018, 3:28pm

One Championship CEO and founder Chatri Sityodtong has said he would turn down the chance to hire Conor McGregor even if the UFC star offered to fight for US$1.

The Irishman is by far the biggest financial draw in all of MMA, but Chatri feels McGregor is too brash for his Singapore-based organisation, which prides itself on highlighting the skills of its fighters more than trash talk outside the cage.

“Someone like Conor McGregor [or] Colby Covington has zero chance of ever getting signed by One Championship,” the Thai told MMA website Sherdog.

“Even if they were free agents [and] wanted to compete in One Championship for $1, we would say no.”

McGregor called out Chatri on social media earlier this month after One signed former UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson, with Ben Askren going the other way to UFC in a blockbuster trade.

There is speculation Johnson’s exit will see the UFC scrap its flyweight division – several fighters have already been released and others are moving up to bantamweight.

UFC bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw has claimed he is being sent to “kill” the 125lbs (56.7 kilograms) division by taking the flyweight title from Henry Cejudo – who ended Johnson’s record streak of 11 consecutive title defences – at UFC 233 in January.

“You must now take all the 125lbers that have been let go, Chatri,” McGregor wrote on Twitter.

“You talk all of this Martial Art and respect talk, yet your greed has directly cost more than half a fighting division it’s [sic] chance to earn income for their family.”

Conor McGregor blames Chatri Sityodtong of One Championship for UFC flyweights getting cut

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Indeed, Johnson and fellow new signing Eddie Alvarez – a former UFC lightweight champion – said One’s focus on martial arts rather than insulting opponents to sell pay-per-views, which has become something of a forte for McGregor, helped motivate their decision to join the organisation.

“When I look at DJ and Eddie coming on board, I do think about the US fan base now appreciating what I call authentic martial arts coming out of Asia,” Chatri told Sherdog.

“And instead of all the trash talk and controversy, what One Championship provides is the very best martial artists on the planet who genuinely embody martial arts, its integrity, humility, honour, respect, discipline and compassion.”

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One has also made waves by appointing retired former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Miesha Tate as its vice-president.

Former UFC prospect Sage Northcutt is reportedly set to become One’s latest star signing, with the American 22-year-old now a free agent.

“I think what we’re going to see going forward is One Championship is going to sign – I already know within the pipeline – many more stars from the West,” Chatri said.

“I really want to create a global sports league. A global sports property. The first step is to sign global superstars.”

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Chatri said he has held talks with three broadcasters for US television deal, and that an announcement will be made within the next couple of months, as he looks to take One into new territories.

“We are very excited about the potential of having a major US TV broadcast partnership,” he said.

“I’m just blown away by the lack of knowledge in America on One Championship. But that’s soon going to change once we announce our US TV deal with a major broadcaster.

“What I’m looking for is one of the major broadcasters that has the brand, the reach [and] the frequency in engagement of viewership in America.

“But I’m also looking for a partner that wants to make One Championship a priority and flagship product within their programming schedule.”

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